RANDOX GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL: GRADE ONE POUNDLAND TOP NOVICES’ HURDLE GOES TO INTHEPOCKET AND RACHAEL BLACKMORE
Friday 14th April
The famous silks of J P McManus were carried to victory in the Grade One Poundland Top Novices’ Hurdle by Inthepocket, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore. The same trio were successful in the 2021 Randox Grand National with Minella Times.
Rachael Blackmore, the winning jockey, said: “He ran a really good race at Cheltenham and we were hoping coming here today he would put up another good performance and he did. He is a really nice horse and he has a big future. It was great to get him to do that today. I was happy throughout the race. I was carried into it a bit sooner than I wanted. It is a long way from the back of the last and dropping my stick wasn’t ideal either but we got away with it.”
Henry de Bromhead, the winning trainer, said: “I think that is our first Grade One winner for the McManus family, so we’re delighted with that - hopefully the first of many. That means a lot.
“Rachael was brilliant on him. He jumped great - he warmed up to it; he was a little bit slow over the first couple, but he’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot, and it’s nice to see him improving. We were a bit worried about coming back after Cheltenham, but he seemed to handle that well.
“I think he’s the kind of fella that the later you can leave it, the better. Rachael just said he travelled so well into it.
“I imagine he will go out in the field now, and we’ll see. He’s got good size and scope, and we’ll see - no plans at the moment.
“I’ll speak to everyone and see, but I will possibly go chasing with him; we’ll see. He won his Grade Three at Naas over just short of two and a half miles, and then he ran well in the Grade One at the Dublin Racing Festival, and then ran really well in the Supreme [Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival]. He’s growing up with every run, as well. He’s got pace, he stays - he’s a really exciting horse.
“”He’s always very laid back - it’s funny, when you hear Nicky Henderson talking about Constitution Hill, he’s the same, he’s very laid back. And another Blue Bresil, Arctic Flame, he’s another very laid back horse. You can see what he means when he says it - our two seem very much the same.”
Olly Murphy, trainer of the runner-up Strong Leader, said: “He ran a cracker. He was never going at any point and we ended up a long way back. That is no criticism of Sean Bowen whatsoever, he just said he never travelled early and got a long way back and flew home. I’m not saying he’s an unlucky loser or anything but it’s sickening when you fly home like that. I’m not deflated, I’m delighted. We always thought he was a good horse and that’s why we ran him in the Supreme - I’m very proud of him and he’s going to be a very nice horse for next year.”
Nicky Henderson, trainer of third-placed Luccia, said: “She’s been to both of the dances now and she’s run two good races. She’s Grade 1-placed, and now we’ve got to make her a Grade 1 winner, but for her next target she’ll be visiting the starting stalls.
“We might just give her one go on the Flat and see how we get on. Her mother Earth Amber was quite good and was placed in the Sagaro, and Ascot on May 3 for the Sagaro is the plan. It’s three weeks away and she can do that before she goes out in the field.
“She’s never seen a starting stall, but it sounds as if she’s going to see one next week. I’ll have to ring up my neighbour!
“Next season it will be all about the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham. I wouldn’t be frightened about going two and a half miles. She’ll stay. If you are going to stay in the Sagaro you are going to stay two and a half over hurdles.”
2.55pm Poundland Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m½f
- Inthepocket 3/1F
- Strong Leader 14/1
- Luccia 7/2
12 ran NR: Colonel Harry (unsuitable ground), Rubaud
Distances: 1¾l, 1l, 1¾l